An investigation of fall protection systems in the roofing industry
Construction is one of most dangerous industries in the United States. One of the most hazardous areas within the construction industry is roofing. Concern for safety in roofing construction has continued to spread, as a result of falls that make up the greatest rate of fatalities in the construction industry. Previous research has found that falls have been one of the leading categories under type of occupational death and that fall protection systems are not consistently used to prevent fall accidents in the roofing industry. Research is needed in order to analyze falls and other potential hazards in roofing. The main goal for this study is to analyze commercial and residential roofers’ behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs on the fall protection systems. A survey was distributed to commercial and residential roofers in the Midwest. Information collected from roofers was compared and analyzed to find differences between residential and commercial roofers. A total of 129 roofing contractors participated in this study. The results of the survey showed that while most of commercial roofers did use fall protection devices, a significant number of residential roofers did not comply with fall protection regulations and guidelines. Two main reasons of noncompliance with fall protection regulations and guidelines in roofing construction were found: (1) fall protection devices decrease productivity; (2) fall protection equipment makes roofers uncomfortable. Results from this study revealed that personal fall arrest system (PFAS) was the most prevalent fall protection device used among residential and commercial roofers. PFAS was also the most preferred fall protection equipment among the two groups of roofers. For both residential and commercial roofing, there is a significant (p = 0.05 and p = 0.01) negative relationship between enforcing roofers to wear or install fall protection devices and having falls from roofs. In both residential and commercial roofing, there is a very significant (p= 0.001 and p = 0.001) positive relationship between the enforcement and the actual usage of fall protection equipment. This thesis presents the results of the investigation of fall protection systems in roofing construction and recommendations that ultimately would reduce fall accidents.